Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

Summary:  It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.

When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.

For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.

Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.  Summary from Deborah Harkness website, - Image from 

My Review: Witches, vampires and daemons living amongst humans in a modern day society.  A world full of secrets. A forbidden love affair. Layers of mystery unraveling, each uncovering another stunning revelation.  Add in an ancient breath-taking castle and who can resist? Really, what more can you ask for in a book?

Diana Bishop has spent her life ignoring the fact that she is a witch, developing instead into a history scholar. When her research leads to the discovery of a mysterious manuscript, Ashmole 782, Diana finds herself suddenly surrounded by vampires and daemons, as well as other witches. All are closely monitoring her next move with a threatening force, each wanting to get ahold of Ashmole 782 for different reasons. At the same time Diana’s magical powers seem to have come unleashed.  Her only chance at survival is to go against her instincts and learn how to effectively use her powers.

Readers will travel with Diana as she struggles to understand her inner power by digging up secrets of her past. Her love for a vampire, Matthew, will take her on an unexpected journey. He longs to serve as her protector yet puts her in immense danger. Diana soon learns that some secrets must be shared while others require close guarding. Unexpected friendships develop and Diana finds she is more powerful than she thought. As the mystery surrounding the manuscript unravels Diana discovers that this is about more than just her. The future of all creatures is in danger.

This is a thick novel, yet it feels that it is over in a moment. Unexpected twists and turns cover the pages. A condensed history lesson is comprised within the story. Do not feel surprised to find yourself lost at times amongst the historical fact only to find enlightenment a few pages down the line. This is a trilogy. This first installment ended at a place where a commercial break would fit nicely, yet I wasn’t entirely satisfied. The next book, Shadow of Night, isn’t due out until July of this year. So if you don’t like waits, put off reading this book until the entire trilogy comes out. I assure you once you interlace yourself in Diana’s life it won't be easy to get untangled.

**Also Warner Brothers is in the early stages of putting together a movie based on this book, so this isn’t the last you’ll hear of it!

Rating: 5 Stars

Sensitive readers: This is PG-13. There are a couple fairly mild love scenes with little detail and only a couple occasions of swearing that I can recall.

To Sum it up: A book you’ll be happy to lose yourself in.  This reads like a more adult version of Twilight, with a much more sophisticated writing style.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails